Sri Lanka water minister to clamp down on mini-hydros: report

Dec 01, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s irrigation ministry is planning to restrict future hydro power development on small river systems in the country in a bid to address environmental concerns, a media report said.

Most of the best locations involving high rainfall and low capital costs have already been developed. Mini-hydro are cheaper than thermal power.

Sri Lanka’s The Daily Mirror newspaper quoted irrigation minister Nimal Siripala de Silva as saying that investors get permits from local authorities to set up mini-hydro plants in a “haphazard” manner which was harmful to the natural habitats.

“We expect to protect these small scale water resources by prohibiting the use of them for construction of mini-hydro power plants,” the newspaper quoted minister de Silva as saying at meeting at his ministry.

The minister had wanted only plants over 10 MegaWatts which have an environmental impact assessment report to be permitted to build plants in the future, the report said.

Sri Lanka’s existing mini-hydro firms sell power to state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) on standard contracts which apply to plants below 10MW.

According to industry data there are 88 plants with a capacit